Exclusive: Female Participation in Fantasy Football Rises to Approximately 6.7 Million
By: The Football Girl | Posted: July 28, 2013
Now that it’s 2013 and, depending on the source, roughly 42-47% of the NFL audience is female, we are beyond the era where a more sports-inclined girl may be asked, “Hey, you’re a girl AND you like football? How can that be?”
However, fantasy football is still light years away from the real thing when it comes to perception of gender interest. But here’s some new data just released to TheFootballGirl.com that can hopefully crack the ceiling of stereotypes:
In June, the FSTA (Fantasy Sports Trade Association) unveiled their latest fantasy demographic statistics, which counted 33.5 million Americans as playing fantasy football last season. Paul Charchian, the President of the FSTA says their recent data almost always shows 20% of fantasy football players as women. This means that approximately 6.7 million American women are now playing fantasy.
Charchian believes the growth in female participants is largely due to accessibility.
“Fantasy sports have become more accessible to women because of the Internet's ease of joining and finding leagues,” Charchian said. “Now, anyone, male or female, who wants to play can join a fantasy league in a couple minutes on ESPN or Yahoo or wherever. Plus, those sites are free, which is a great starting point for any novice player.”
The Internet makes it easy but growth in society makes it irresistible. As the NFL has grown into a huge faction of pop culture, so has fantasy. Matthew Berry’s new book “A Fantasy Life” is well-done and entertaining but only the significant growth of fantasy, for which Berry deserves a heaping slice of credit, could land such a topic at #5 on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list.
As far as women go, there are a plethora of paths to entry. Some, as Charchian suggested, find it so simple (and free) that they try it out and never look back. Some view it as a niche path to empowerment, determined to succeed no matter the competition. Some start girls only leagues as a gender based social activity, a sort of book club for cool girls. And, as ESPN’s Stephania Bell noted in a recent interview with TFG, some are joining family leagues, which is “going to inherently draw in more women and different age groups”.
While female participation has generally remained at 20% in recent years, expect that number to start creeping upwards. After all, as Charchian said, “Fantasy sports has already overlaid a huge part of male NFL fans.”